Friday, September 18, 2009

Dear Music Industry Lobby/Lawyers

Quit Whining

For those reasons, composers and songwriters will struggle to sell their case to the public. But these royalty-collection groups say they're at the bottom of the music-sector food chain and aren't trying to gouge anyone. They say their livelihoods are threatened and wonder why movie studios, big recording companies, TV networks, and online retailers are allowed to profit from their work but they aren't.

"We make 9.1 cents off a song sale and that means a whole lot of pennies have to add up before it becomes a bunch of money," said Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters' Guild of America. "Yesterday, I received a check for 2 cents. I'm not kidding. People think we're making a fortune off the Web, but it's a tiny amount. We need multiple revenue streams or this isn't going to work."

From a technology perspective, you've got two choices - something coming your way from iTunes (which by far owns the majority of the paid music downloads) and a larger proportion of nothing from unlicensed downloads.

Let's get real about something - just like software piracy has been around since the dawn of microcomputers, unlicensed music downloads will always be around too. Consumers aren't stupid, and the people who cook up ways to download things will always be able to come up with a new way to work around the latest scheme to prevent downloading. (and sue your customers all you like - that's going to win you tons of support) Underground software (and I include music in this) is a "Spy versus Spy" game of constant escalation - you cannot win.

There are a lot of consumers that aren't going to buy your music sight unseen these days - those 30 second samples on iTunes make you a lot of sales - suck it up princesses. This isn't the days of vinyl records and radio any more.

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